Breast augmentation surgery is a hugely popular cosmetic procedure performed routinely in surgical clinics all over the world. Despite the mounting number of augmentation surgeries performed each year, many prospective patients often arrive at initial consultation appointments with little or no idea what to expect. To be better prepared and informed, take a look at our brief overview of the steps involved in breast augmentation.
Your first visit to the surgeon’s office may actually be the most important part of the entire process. Through a detailed discussion with your surgeon, you will make informed decisions about the size, shape, location, and materials to be used for your prospective procedure. Based on your goals and expectations, a qualified plastic surgeon will be able to give you a realistic idea of likely outcomes and will also provide a clear picture of what to expect during post-op recovery.
Once your implant size and location have been determined, your surgery will be scheduled. When you return to the surgeon’s clinic, you will meet with the surgeon so that your incision sites can be drawn with a surgical marker. Depending on the implant type, these may be under the breast around the nipple, or under the arm. The incisions sites will also be cleaned with a special antimicrobial soap. When you are ready to begin, anesthesia will be administered, either through a breathing mask or an intravenous port, depending on whether you plan on being fully or partially asleep during the surgery.
The Breast Augmentation Procedure
With sedatives and anesthetics administered, it is time for the incisions to be made. The first cuts open the skin to expose the breast tissue underneath. Then, the implant pocket is formed by separating the breast tissue from supporting muscles and connective tissue. This pocket will be either in front of or behind the outer layer of muscle, depending on what you and your doctor have decided. Finally, the implant is put in place. This will either be an empty container that is filled with saline after insertion, or a fully-formed silicone gel implant, depending on what implant type you have selected.
Once the implants are in place, you will be situated in an upright position so that the surgeon can make final adjustments to optimize breast symmetry. To finish up, all of the layers of tissue will be carefully stitched back together with sutures. Drains may also be used to help reduce swelling and discomfort during recovery.
While breast augmentation patients can usually return home the same day, it will be necessary for someone else to provide transportation, as the drugs used for anesthesia take a while to fully wear off. Once you are home and in recovery mode, soreness, swelling, and bruising are to be expected, but can be combated with pain medication and compression garments that provide extra support. Your surgeon will give you specifics regarding what to expect in your particular case, but it generally takes a few days or a couple weeks to fully recover, depending on the volume of the implants and the kinds of incisions made, among other factors. You may also need to return to the surgeon at least one more time to have drains or sutures removed, or if you are having any issues with your recovery.